Health Minister takes jab at German vaccine concerns

Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt has hit back at concerns about the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after Germany today said it should not be recommended for people over 65.

While the final approval for the vaccine use in Australia will be provided by the Therapeutics Goods Administration, Greg Hunt today said any vaccine approved for use in Australia, including the AstraZeneca shot, would be thoroughly vetted before being rolled out.

“Our approach will be led by what we believe will be the best medical regulator in the world, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, they are strong, they are independent, they are fearless, they are exactly what you want, they are thorough and we will be guided by them and their judgements,” Mr Hunt said.

His statement today followed news out of Germany, with the country’s vaccine commission advising against the use of the vaccine in residents over 65.

The German commission said publicly that due to the small number of study participants in the 65+ years vaccine testing group, “no conclusion can be made regarding efficacy and safety in the elderly”.

“This vaccine is therefore currently recommended by STIKO only for persons aged 18-64 years,” the panel said in its recommendation.

Melbourne company CSL is currently on track to┬ádeliver 50 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to Australians, with delivery expected in April.

Responding to the announcement, an AstraZeneca spokesperson said today: “latest analyses of clinical trial data for the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine support efficacy in the over 65 years age group.”